152347 Health, secondary conditions and employment outcomes for clients of vocational rehabilitation

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Catherine A. Ipsen, PhD , Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities, University of Montana, Missoula, MT
Nancy L. Arnold, PhD , Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities, University of Montana, Missoula, MT
Health promotion has been shown to reduce secondary health conditions and improve health behaviors for individuals with disabilities. Access to health promotion activities, however, is a problem for many people with disabilities who do not work and who rely on Medicare or Medicaid to cover healthcare costs. Without access to health promotion programs, people with disabilities may find it difficult to get a job or stay employed. Past research on data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (N= 3091) suggests that secondary conditions and health behaviors play a significant role in predicting employment outcome, after controlling for demographics and disability severity.

This presentation builds on past research by reporting on longitudinal data from vocational rehabilitation (VR) clients with mobility impairments. Study participants (N = 260) were recruited into the study when they first became eligible for VR services and were then followed at 6 month intervals for 18 months. At each wave of data collection, participants provided data on their current employment status, secondary health conditions, health promoting lifestyle behaviors, medical care utilization, and quality of life indicators. This research explores the probability of employment as a function of participant demographics (age, education, gender, race, marital status), presenting secondary health conditions, medical utilization rates, quality of life indicators, and health promoting lifestyle behaviors. Additional discussion will focus on the most prevalent secondary health conditions experienced by this sample of VR clients.

Learning Objectives:
1. Articulate the role that health behaviors and secondary conditions play in predicting employment outcomes for clients of vocational rehabilitation. 2. Understand the application of health promotion programming as a viable strategy to enhance employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.